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Study of Real World Surface Properties

March 28, 2014

To create realistic renders of real world objects in three dimensional programs such as Autodesk Maya, the surface of the object must be studied to understand the various properties of the surface and to understand how light affects the surface. By understanding these properties, the objects properties can be replicated in 3d to provide a realistic render. The surface properties of an object can be put in categories:

• colour
• diffuse
• refraction
• specularity
• gloss
• transparency
• translucency
• reflectivity
• surface

Colour simply means the overall colour of the object’s surface, that is, whether the surface is red, green, blue, etc.

Diffuse refers to how much light the surface absorbs. It is related to and affects colour. A high diffuse value means the surface absorbs a lot of light and is more matte. A high diffuse value will also mean the surface will have either a pure hue (colour) or close to one. A low diffuse value however, means the surface doesn’t absorb much light and therefore reflects it, which in turn means the surface has little or no colour. Any colour you see on the surface will actually be the reflections of the light and environment.

Refraction refers to how light bends when hitting a surface and passing through it. This can only occur on surfaces which are transparent.

Specularity refers to the highlights on a surface, its shape, size, colour etc.

Gloss is the roughness or softness of the specular highlight. That is how sharp or blurry the highlight is.

Transparency is whether the surface is see-through. Not opaque.

Translucency is whether light can pass through the surface but is opaque. For example if you put a piece of paper to a light and put your hand behind the paper on the side of the light. You cant see through the paper, but light can pass though it allowing you to see things behind it.

Reflectivity refers to how much of the environment is able to be seen on the surface. That is, how much light is being bounced back by the surface. Reflectivity is dependent on the angle of view.

Surface refers to the texture of the surface, how bumpy, rough, or smooth the surface is.

Surface type: Apple

Colour: The main colour of the apple is red with some dots and streaks of yellow. There are multiple values and of the red colour. A large amount of the apple is covered in the darker values of the red.

Diffuse: The apple has a fairly high diffuse value as most of the light hitting surface is being absorbed. However it is still reflecting some of the light.

Refraction: The apple has no refraction value as it is not transparent.

Specularity: The apple has specular. Its specular highlights on the main body of the apple is small to medium round. On the top of the apple, near the stem, the specularity is seen as horizontal streaks. The size and intensity of the specularity is dependent of the surrounding light source and angle of view. It has a white specularity.

Gloss: The glossiness of the specular highlight is slightly blurry. It is also quite noisy.

Transparency: The apple is not transparent and is completely solid.

Translucency: The apple has no translucency.

Reflectivity: The apple has a low reflectivity value as most of the light is being absorbed.

Surface: The apple is not completely smooth. It has a slight rough texture to it. The areas  that have yellow are slightly rougher than the areas with red.

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Surface type: Banana

Colour: The banana has various shades of yellow and a slight amount of grey/brown and green. It also has brown coloured dots covering the sides.

Diffuse: The banana has a very high diffuse value. It has a very small amount of light being reflected in the stalk and body of the banana.

Refraction: The banana has no refraction as it is opaque.

Specularity: There is little to no specular on the banana. On the stalk there are small white horizontal specular highlights.

Gloss: The gloss on the stalk is quite blurry.

Transparency: The banana is opaque and therefore has no transparency.

Translucency: The banana is not translucent as no light is able to pass through it

Reflectivity: The banana has a very low reflectivity value. A large majority of the light is being absorbed by the surface.

Surface: The banana is very smooth, however areas where there has been oxidation and there are brown dots create a bumpy texture. The dots have created small indents in the skin of the banana.

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